Sary-Arka Airport is located 20 kilometers south of the city of Karaganda, Kazakhstan. It is the largest and, perhaps, the most beautiful airport in the country which has just one problem – it has extremely low air passenger traffic. Let’s try to find out why.
The airport was built in 1934, and moved to its current location after 10 years.
In 1992 the airport was granted an international status. It has become an independent joint stock company after separation from JSC “Karagandaavia” in 1997.
Its total area is 30,000 m2.
In 1980 the airport underwent major reconstruction, including construction of a new terminal building and modernization of its runway. This made landing of heavier aircraft possible and opened the door to many new destinations of the Soviet Union.
Its “star ceiling” is one of the most remarkable peculiarities of the airport.
This is the way the ceiling looks like in the nighttime.
This vintage chandelier was custom-made in Simferopol.
It still looks pretty stylish.
These rarity Moskvich 408 and VAZ 2101 are exposed on the second floor.
The inscription of this car says, “This car depicts the victory in World War II, namely its two main militant centers – the victorious Kremlin and the defeated Reichstag…”
The airport features a restaurant seating 150 persons.
Its ambiance reminds that of old aristocratic England.
Galia is a barmaid and waitress. She’s been working here for two years.
She says there are not many clients at the restaurant. On workdays they serve about 5 people. They serve European food and provide in-flight catering.
They take care about their business-class passengers.
The airport’s VIP zone.
This girl has been working as a waitress for two years too. She says she has to be super polite and friendly and wishes she had more clients to serve.
The airport is huge but there are just three to four flights here daily, while in the 90s the number was 60.
After the fall of the Soviet Union, the number of people traveling from one country to another reduced which became crucial for the airport.
The airport of Astana is situated 250 km from Sary-Arka Airport and the vast majority of people prefer to travel through Astana.
A family sees Alexander off (the second from the right) to Kyzylordy where he works. He has to go there twice a week but just two to three times a week he manages to go there by plane because the aircraft doesn’t run on a daily basis.
There are not enought flights here in Karaganda so people have to go to the airport to Astana.
This huge but empty building reminds this young man of a horror movie.
The runway has been reconstructed as well.
This airport is the only one in Kazakhstan that features a freight terminal that meets all international standards.
Up-to-date and expensive machinery is hardly ever used.
These two brothers are drivers with a 14-year working experience.
With new snow-removing vehicles, it takes them just two hours to get snow off the runway.
In the control center.
Up to two cargo aircrafts land in the airport of Karaganda daily.
This aircraft heading from Hong Kong to Luxemburg has landed to refuel.
You need to have an authorization to cross the red line.
Vladimir has been working here for 29 years. He’s responsible for maintenance service and refuelling.
One of the white collars of the airport.
They now recall the year of 1995 when they had to work in two shifts (12 hours each).
There were people and lines everywhere and the airport was “alive”.
This is a schedule of flights for 1990.
A modern one.
Last year, the world’s largest aircraft landed here in Karaganda. It was an Antonov An-225 mria carrying a cargo of 136 tons. The plane was designed to transport a space shuttle.
Closer to the evening, a plane from Almaty landed.
They unload its luggage first.
This very plane will head back to Almaty in just one hour.
Carrying out a security check.
Bibigul likes her job because she ensures safety of her passengers.
Back then, when air passenger traffic was high, they had to check every suitcase manually which took a lot of time and caused jams. Today they have new up-to-date equipment and look forward to having more passengers here at Sary-Arka.